Friday, September 26, 2008

I've got the urge...for advertising

Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don't have for something they don't need.” – Will Rogers

Advertisements need to pop up on you when you have no choice but to pay attention. Their message can’t be obvious. When someone’s obviously trying to sell me something, I will ignore them. However, I find myself buying things I don’t need, and don’t even desperately want even though I often am monetarily challenged. When I see an ad and think that’s cool, or that’s funny, I forget that they’re trying to sell me something. Sometimes ads seem to have nothing to do with the products they’re selling. The add above is a perfect example.

This ad can be flipped past in any magazine without a second thought. But when I look at it I think, what is it really trying to sell me? The first thought that comes to mind is it’s trying to sell perfection. The woman’s face is flawless. She is perfectly made up, and her hair is lustrous and shiny. This is unlikely natural; I recently discovered how easy it is to create perfection on photoshop. I also notice the woman’s expression. She looks she is experiencing pure bliss. Isn’t that a little much for shampoo?

The line “Until now you’ve only fantasized about it being this intense” also struck me as strange for a shampoo add. I don’t generally dream about shampoo, nor do I consider it particularly intense. What it seems to be trying to sell is a lifestyle. They seem to be saying that if you buy herbal essences they will be flawlessly beautiful, happy, and have your fantasies come true. Normally I wouldn’t think about all of this when seeing such an ad. I would just see it and say, of course this is a good way to advertise Herbal Essences.

This is because ads are meant to be hegemonic or dominant readings. “the reader fully shares the text's code and accepts and reproduces the preferred reading (a reading which may not have been the result of any conscious intention on the part of the author(s)) - in such a stance the code seems 'natural' and 'transparent'” (Chandler)

Most of the time we don’t think about ads. We just accept them for the way we are, and often buy what they are selling. I usually buy things when I have seen them in some form of media. I don’t think that this or any other advertisement will be a preferred reading for everybody, though this is I believe an advertiser’s goal. There are many possible interpretations for advertisements, but they are not meant be advertisers to be analyzed that way. I usually just ignore advertisments, or I don’t take them seriously. That may just mean I am brainwashed into equating extreme flawless beauty with a shampoo.

So do I fell an urge to buy a truckload of herbal essences now? It does smell good and all, but I don’t think I have an urge for herbal.

Until next time,


Works Cited

Chandler, Daniel. "Semiotics for Beginners : Encoding/Decoding." 19 Feb 2001 26 Sep 2008 .

"Advertising quotes." 26 Sep 2008 .

No comments: